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Sep 6, 2012 11:58 AM

Hot Dog tradition in Sea Bright

Had my first hot dog of the off season at Mrs Rooney's legendary Sabrett stand today. She has been a fixture at this location since 1977, and is open nearly 10 months out of the year weather permitting. She prepares her own condiments including the spiced sauteed onions. Nothing fancy, just a good reliable hot dog.

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  1. yeah I have been there a few times....decent dirty water dogs.

    How long has Gus been in red bank? It has been decades too. The only person that guy likes is my grandfather who has been going there since day one. Every other person gets the "hot dog nazi" treatment. (if you are a seinfeld fan remember the soup nazi? LOL)

    Personally my favorite dirty water dogs are Dans in Atlantic highlands. He makes a mean chili dog.

    12 Replies
    1. re: corvette johnny

      I've been in the area 18 years now and Gus has been there as long as I have been. You are correct with his personality.....however he does serve good dogs.

      I'm not a big dirty water dog guy.....I prefer mine grilled and for whatever reason Windmill in Long Branch is my favorite. I've been to a few including the one in Brick on 70 which was just awful but for whatever reason I like the Long Branch location the best. I cannot stand Max's.

      I also like going to the Stewarts in Pier Villiage (my apologies to MGZ if he reads this) I wish there were more Stewarts Drive In's in NJ. Toms River and Matawan are the only two I can think of. Their dogs on the toasted white bread are always very tasty and the root beer brings back many fun childhood memories.

      1. re: jrvedivici

        There's a Stewarts in Keansburg, although not the drive-in format, they also serve pizza and grease truck sandwiches (which are pretty good actually)..

        There is also another one in Somerset on route 27 which is the drive-in format.

        1. re: coldsolderjoint

          Thanks for the info!! The Keansburg one is the one on 36sth? If so I've passed it several times over the years and have had a hard time determining if they were still open. If you have eaten there lately you are a far braver man (assumption) than I !!! But thanks again for the info!!

          1. re: jrvedivici

            There's also a Stewart's in Marlboro (junction of Rts. 79 & 520), though it's not a drive-in. There's another on Rt. 33/34 North in Wall/Howell/Farmingdale, whatever town that is.. very close to the Collingwood flea market.

            There's more than you'd think, though I don't see the Collingwood area one listed, but I know it's there!


            1. re: jrvedivici

              Yeah its fine, not dirty or anything.. they do make a pretty good grease truck.. saves from having to drive to new Brunswick.

              It's on 36 and closest street is Laurel Ave.

              I believe they also deliver to the local area.

              1. re: jrvedivici

                @MM The Marlboro on 79 & 520 is relatively new. I think Matawan was busting that locations chops a 2 seasons ago about allowing them to re-open and they or Stewarts allowed the 520 location to open right up the road. I have never been into the 520 location though. I do remember the sign on the windows of Matawan saying they were not going to re-open the next season a few years ago.

                Also you are correct there is one near the collingswood auction however as I said about the Rt. 36 Keansburg you are a braver man than me to eat at the Collingswood location. lol

                @ Cold.........I'm glad you say it's fine etc. because it has -0- curb appeal. It could be that I'm looing on that stretch of 36 in a bit of a snobish manner because in my opinion it just becomes a void of greesy deli's and used car lot's from Hazlet/Airport Plaza-ish through to Middletown/Highlands.

                1. re: jrvedivici

                  Robs hot dog truck rt 528 Jackson Nj...awesome chili dogs..

                  1. re: jrvedivici

                    JR, you know you can get the same windmill hotdogs at the grocery store right? They are made by sabrett. Obviously it is still fun to go to the windmill, but just a heads up in case you didn't know that.

                    1. re: corvette johnny

                      I don't have a flat iron grill/griddle........I don't like the taste of my own sweat on my food......who is going to chop up the hot and sweet peppers for me......I don't have a literal Windmill to stand in and enjoy them.........I appreciate the heads up CJ but it just wouldn't be the same!!! (No actually I had no idea they were sebrett hotdogs but thanks for the info!!........Is it just me that's starting to feel a lil wierd about the influence your starting to have over my diet?) LOL

                      1. re: jrvedivici

                        Lol....if you follow my lead you will be eating well!

                        Im sitting at my bar and a thought just came to me. Does anyone offer a pork roll/egg/cheese hotdog? I am sure its been done but I might have to try my own.

                        The other day i made bacon wrapped brownies since i had brownies in the kitchen my wife sourced somewhere.....outrageous! It just takes an idea and a good food combination.

                        1. re: corvette johnny

                          Completely off topic, but at Bagel Oven this morning they had choc chip bacon cream cheese. I did not partake in it, however.

            2. re: corvette johnny

              Ah, I am hardly a regular and Gus is nothing but great to me. Maybe because I never knew of this reputation? Anyway, last time I was there his son in law is running the joint as Gus recovers from surgery (open heart??? I'm not entirely sure) I love his chili and his cooked onions. Chili is on the dry side, which I love for a hot dog.

              Mrs. Rooney is fantabulous. When I worked in Long Branch I would visit her relatively often, her personality is so great I would feel guilty when passing her by and not stopping. Her cooked onions are great as well. I don't care for her chili.

            3. Are schickhaus and the windmill sabrett the same dog? They are very similar and i think they could be the same maker with different labels. Both are very pricey for hotdogs but real tasty.

              Jr, waiting for wife ....might be a copper night ; )

              17 Replies
              1. re: corvette johnny

                I believe both are 1/4 lb beef/pork dogs. But i thought Schickhaus and Sabrett were two different and distinct manufacturers putting out a very similar product. However, I would consult Mr. hotdoglover for a definetive answer on this one.

                1. re: cke25

                  Both are 1/4 lb. Schickhaus is a New Jersey hot dog that was made in Kearny. The plant closed years ago and the recipe was made by several companies including Grote & Weigel, Russer, and now Armour Eckrich. These dogs are served at Max's and many Boardwalk locations. The Texas Weiner joints on Rt 22 used this frank until they stopped making them in a 6 to a lb size. These places use Grote & Weigel franks which are similar, but many will try to tell you they still use Schickhaus. They don't. Schickhaus is a German style pork and beef frank.

                  As for Sabrett, they make franks from 2 recipes, but many different sizes and some skinless, some natural casing. The 1/4 frank used at the Windmill is a beef/pork frank similar to Schickhaus. Completely different than the spicy/garlicky Sabrett all beef frank served at carts/trucks and Papaya King. Callahan's use the 1/4 Sabrett, but deep fried it. The Hot Grill also uses this frank but in a smaller size. A place in Carlstadt (the name escapes me) uses the 1/4 lb franks.

                  In Long Branch there is a Windmill (actually 2) and Max's about a quarter mile from each otrher. I've compared both and personally prefer Max's. You can find both brands in supermarkets. Hope this helps.

                  1. re: hotdoglover

                    Ok so now you have me curious. For the first football Sunday of the new season I decided to do a “nosh” day Sunday menu which included hot dogs done on my propane grill. Since my buddy Corvette Johnny somewhere above told me Windmill uses Sabrett’s which could be store bought off to the store I went. Not that this matters (or maybe it does) but I went to the Foodtown in Red Bank for my Sunday nosh fest. While looking for what I thought resembled the size of the Windmill dog…I stumbled upon a Sabrett with jalepeno pepper inside and couldn’t resist. (My favorite and really only hot-dogs I buy are called spicy dogs at Delicious Orchards in Colts Neck). So off I was to throw these dogs on the grill..
                    I have to say that I was disappointed not necessarily with the taste of the dog but rather the size. They were 8 to a pack so I assume 8 to a pound (but I never checked the packaging) I was making a nice Italian style hot dog for myself and the dog was too small to really enjoy or notice the flavor. I know I could have put two dogs in the bun but I didn’t think about it until I noticed how drowned out the dog was by all the other tastes and textures.
                    So my question is……based upon my inspection of the dogs available none really seemed to be of the same size of a nice Windmill dog. Are you not supposed to look in your local grocery store for such dogs?
                    Also Hotdoglover I’m really surprised you like Max’s better than the Windmill can you tell me what you like better about Max’s? In my opinion they over grill the dogs. I feel like you are getting a piece of shoe leather on a bun when you go there.

                    1. re: jrvedivici

                      I have found the Stop and Shop in Middletown to have the large Shickhaus dogs, but mostly in the summer. I can't say that I have seen ones labeled Sabrett. They also carry Best's dogs but those are of the "regular" size variety. It's been a while, but Foodtown in Atl. Highlands would carry a nice variety of dogs also.

                      1. re: TomT

                        Foodtown is Atlantic highlands is where I usually get my windmill dogs.

                        1. re: corvette johnny

                          Sabatos butcher shop in Belford has the authentic Shickhaus Griddle Franks, 1/4 lb foot long, same as served at Max's in Long Branch, similar to Sabrett's 1/4 lb dog, but not identical. I like how they cook up on a cast iron griddle on top of the stove, rather than over a flame on the grill.

                      2. re: jrvedivici

                        It seems opinions on the Max's vs, Windmill debate are split 50-50. The first year of the Munchmobile (Star Ledger) Max's was picked by the panel over the Windmill. When I was on the Munchmobile in 06, most of our group of 8 picked Max's. Both are good; Windmill is a little milder. I like my grilled dogs well done. I was to both recently on 2 occasions and both my wife and I picked Max's. Both places are inconsistent when it comes to buns. First time Max's used a quality Portugese type bun and the Windmill used a cheap Wonder roll that fell apart. Next time both used a bun from Rockland Bakery.

                        1. re: hotdoglover

                          Is that angry old hag still manning the register at Max's?

                          1. re: equal_Mark

                            I was just going to ask this! LOL Isnt she the owner?

                            1. re: corvette johnny

                              The 2 most recent times I've gone there, she wasn't behind the register. Her daughter or daughter in law was. She was there last year when I went.

                              1. re: hotdoglover

                                I just had no interest in going to Max's after they moved off the boardwalk (OK I'm aging myself). It might have been worth the $10 price of a dog and a beer when the waves were washing under foot and Maxine was griping, bitching and yelling. Since then it's not even open year round even though any connection to a seasonal audience is tenuous at best. It may be subjective, but I vote Windmill (and still am devoted to Mrs. Rooney for my dirty water urges).

                                1. re: equal_Mark

                                  Do me a favor and age yourself some more and tell me exactly when did they move? I've been going there for a long time but I don't have any recolection of them being on the water. Two things I can always count on when I go to Max's.....a tough hot dog and someone while waiting leaning against one of the pictures and it falling off the wall breaking. I swear every time I go this happens.

                                  1. re: jrvedivici

                                    Max's moved off the boardwalk and into their current location in 1984. It used to literally sit on pilings off the ocean side of the boardwalk. This was before the beach replenishment in the mid 90s and during particularly high tides the waves would literally wash under the floor. On the rear deck you could look through the boards and see & hear the waves.

                                    1. re: equal_Mark

                                      Wow thanks for the history and pic.....after reading and looking at it all I can say is "Wow are you old" !!! lol (joke sorry). It certainly sounds like the place had a charm about it that was certainly lost during it's move.

                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                        I'm 47 years young and I remember my father, my grandfather, and I going for the best hot dogs around at Max's on the boardwalk after a day of fishing in Long Branch in the late '70s. Enjoyed the scene much better then and could down 2 or 3 of those griddle franks as a teenager and not gain a pound!

                                        1. re: cke25

                                          My Mom is a hot dog kook also and used to like Maxs over windmill but her last 2 trips up there has her convinced that something has changed with Maxs and she now favors Windmill.

                            2. re: equal_Mark

                              Mrs. Max? I think so. I remember when Max's was still on the Long Branch board walk in the 1960's. When it came time to pay the bill, which you paid walking out the door, my dad would always get into an argument with her about why they raised their prices a few cents, or a nickle, from the previous year. :)

                              If it's the same Mrs. Max, she must be 100 years old!

                  2. I was just a kid but I remember when the fire hit and Max's moved off the boardwalk. We couldn't believe the fancy, large restaurant they built inland. Definitely not the same or as charming as the boardwalk location, but at least the waitresses are the same type - that careworn, bored, indifferent type.

                    Maxine was such a character - always grousing about something, with a cigarette always dangling from her mouth.

                    Last few times I was at Max's this summer, the place was pretty deserted, not sure how well it's doing.....We were amazed that hot dogs alone would support such a giant spot.

                    1. I grew up in Sea Bright/Rumson. The Rooney hot dog cart started sometime in the mid to late 1960's, originally run by her husband, then by her son. Back then you could get two Sabrett's with the red onion sauce, or kraut and mustard, and a generic soda(sourced from the then "Foodtown" supermarket adjacent to the cart) for under a buck.